Te_23

HMA/TE/TIB/23

Date: Iron Pig year, 2nd month, 18th day (1911)
Lines: 7
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: seal at l. 6; second line damaged.

Short transliteration

1. lcag phag zla 2 tshe 18 re gza’ 1 nyin | gter rgan srid thar spa sangs rgan (dngos grub) rgan (nyi ma) bsam ’grub sum gtsos yul rgyis rgan rol rnams las ’dzin thog

7. kyis rtags | don ’di ’bar dum mdzad mi ’dzar dpon sku Zzhabs bzang po (rdo rje)
{mdang}bzhugs | yig ’bris tshogs dgongs (bla ma) bstan pa’i (brgyal mtshan) bzhugs yod |

Paraphrase
During the office of the headmen, constables and other officials of the village led by the (three headmen) of Te; while bKa’ mi gser kyis (< Nep. Kāmi Sarki) was irrigating his fields, the water ran into the community house, and [an unspecified number of] his female goats were seized as a punishment. In violation of his fine and customary village law he [went to Kag, where he] received a [favourable] judgment from the government office (a rmal < Nep. amāl). However, when the issue was later debated as a matter of internal rules (nang grigs), because he did not know that he had violated village law in going [to Kag], the fine of 100 tam (50 rupees) [that had been imposed on him by Te] was reduced to 50 tam, and he offered this to the village with his excuses, and the village accepted his apologies. This issue shall not be raised again in the future. The main headman of Te, Tshe dbang don grub, sets his seal on behalf of the whole community; the offender bKa’ mi gser kyi sets his thumbprint; the lord of Dzar, sKu zhabs bZang po rdo rje, is present as a mediator. The scribe is Lama bsTan pa’i rgyal mtshan of Upper Tshognam.

Commentary
This document reveals three interesting features of local law in Te that, as far as I am aware, are still relevant. First, the seizure of the offender’s goats: it is standard practice in Te, when someone has committed a punishable offence, that the headmen confiscate a number of the offender’s goats corresponding to the value of the fine that has been imposed. Pending the payment of the fine, the animals are locked in a shed without food or water and, if the sum remains unpaid, left to die. The bodies are then placed in the branches of a tree to rot and be picked apart by the birds. Second, in common with many communities in the region, Te has a policy whereby internal disputes may not be referred to external authorities for resolution. And finally—since the accused successfully claimed ignorance of this unwritten rule—ignorance of local law can be considered to be an acceptable mitigating factor.